The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder of 1.5 million Armenians, Greeks and Assyrians by the Turkish government between 1915 and 1923. Turkey has long denied that this took place, so the filmmakers take a rather soft approach to the story, setting out a romantic plotline with the genocide as a backdrop. So the resulting drama is somewhat uneven, but the events are so powerful that the film can't be ignored.
It opens in 1915 as the Ottoman Empire is collapsing. Mikael (Oscar Isaac) is a young Armenian studying medicine in Constantinople with a promised fiancee Maral (Angela Sarafyan) back home. Even so, he falls for Ana (Charlotte Le Bon), who shares his rural Armenian background. But she has a boyfriend, Chris (Christian Bale), who is investigating rumours of war as the Germans arrive to help the Turkish government round up its ethnic minorities. Mikael is soon arrested, but escapes from the work camp to return to his parents (Shohreh Aghdashloo and Kevork Malikyan) and Maral. Meanwhile, Chris and Ana are trying to report the story of what's really happening, and Mikael joins them to help a group of orphan refugees.
Yes, this is a sweeping epic in which there's a lot going on, and it's filmed on a lavish scale. The characters' lives continually intersect throughout the story, and the intensity of the wartime atrocities is seriously powerful. On the other hand, this makes the four-sided romance feel like a melodramatic distraction. The actors are solid, but the earnest tone undermines any real emotional edge. Isaac is sincere and decent, Le Bon is strong and wilful, Bale is solid and cynical, and Sarafyan is lost in the shuffle. Aghdashloo, as always, provides wrenching support.
Continue reading: The Promise Review
A chick-lit-flick, Book Club is poorly directed by Robin Swicord from her own inconsistent adaptation of Karen Jay Fowler's novel about five women (and one coerced man) who use Austen's novels as a means to escape their broken lives. They cover one book a month, and we roll our eyes as their individual problems mirror the quandaries found in Austen's chapters.
Continue reading: The Jane Austen Book Club Review
Marshall gives the film, especially its early scenes where Sayuri (Ziyi Zhang) gets schooled in the hard-knock ways of the okiya, a goodly amount of sound and fury that has more than a hint of Spielberg to it (the original director of the project, he stayed on as producer). Having one of the world's most photogenic period settings, Marshall makes all that he can of it, and the results are astonishing. This is a film of fluttering cherry blossoms and dark alleyways lit by paper lanterns, where all houses have their own deftly-maintained garden and everyone is dressed to the nines. The problem is that no amount of amped-up drama or pretty window-dressing can make up for the fact that the phenomenally talented cast has been stuck with hackneyed dialogue to deliver in English - a first language for none of them.
Continue reading: Memoirs Of A Geisha Review
It's one of those movies that I kind of just sat through. I was a passive participant. I didn't even get to make my usual comments picking on it while I watched it (except for one). It's not a waste of your time, if you have time to kill. It's not a bad movie to take some witches to: I can say its religiously accurate. But what use is that?
Continue reading: Practical Magic Review
Up-and-coming British singer-songwriter Alice Chater unveils her brand new single 'Hourglass'.
With a fourth solo album having just dropped and his 50th birthday celebrations behind him, John Grant kicked off the UK leg of his latest tour in...
Tristan Corrigan on the difficulties of making music within a genre that is so popular.
They've just announced their 2019 70-date world tour and they've dropped a new single and video just to get fans even more excited.
Paloma Faith tests her aim in the video for her new single 'Loyal', directed by Jamie Travis, ahead of the release of album 'The Architect: Zeitgeist...
Seven months after the release of his second album 'Staying At Tamara's', George Ezra unveils the video to his newest single 'Hold My Girl'.
After teaming up with Benny Blanco and Khalid on the song 'Eastside' earlier this year, Halsey returns with her newest single 'Without Me'.
Kesha's latest single is 'Here Comes The Change' from the soundtrack of an important new biographical drama entitled 'On the Basis of Sex'.
The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...
You need neither a deep appreciation for author Jane Austen nor an understanding of her...
The only thing which director Rob Marshall doesn't throw into Memoirs of a Geisha is...